Second Reading: 1 Peter 4:13-16

Suffer In This Life? Be Happy!

How can daily life be a burden? Who or what are the “thorns in your side?”

Popular Translation

13 If you suffer like Jesus did, be happy! Soon, you will be completely full of joy when Jesus reveals his glory. 14 If you are put down because you believe in the name of Christ, you are truly fortunate! The Spirit and glory of God are with you.

15 You will suffer in this life, but don’t be called a murderer, a thief, and evil doer, or even a busybody. 16 But if you suffer because you’re a Christian, don’t be ashamed. Instead, use your suffering to praise God!

Literal Translation

12 Beloved, do not consider your trial by fire strange, as if (something) very unusual was happening to you, 13 but, just as you share in the sufferings of CHRIST, rejoice, so that in the revealing of his glory you might rejoice, being glad. 14 If you are insulted in the name of CHRIST, (you are) fortunate ones because the glory and the Spirit of God rests on you. 15 Do not let anyone among you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evil doer or (even) as one who meddles in the affairs of others. 16 But if (you suffer) as a Christian, do not be shamed but glorify God in THIS (ONE’S) name.

4:12 “your trial by fire” is literally “a burning toward temptation among you.” These two phrases are equivalent.

African-American jazz singer Bobby Ferrin is famous for his hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Like the song or not, it had a point. Life isn’t going to change. But one can change toward happiness. So, don’t worry. Be happy!

Still, most of us are too jaded to consider the song more than pop fluff. We need a reason to be happy, even in the face of life’s inequities. The author of 1 Peter gave us a reason, even though we might not want to accept it. We should be happy even as we suffer, he pointed out, because Christ suffered for us! In fact, he implied, our sufferings foreshadow the coming of Christ in glory. How does the old fitness saying go: “No pain, no gain”? Suffering in this life reveals the pain and glory of the end times. This was the meaning of Christ’s suffering. It is the meaning of our suffering.

Just because life is tough at times, we do have a reason to be happy. Faith is the key. With faith in God, we can put our suffering into context, because we see it in the shadow of the cross. We can even offer our suffering as a way to glorify God. The glory of God is one of the best reasons to be happy.

How does faith help you in tough times to remain happy?